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City of Cape Coral urging contractors to utilize online portal for growing number of permits

Cape Permit Problems
Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 20:31:54-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Wednesday, the doors to the City of Cape Coral’s permitting department, according to Jason Donovan have never been busier with contractors.

“Best time to come, I'd say get here first thing in the morning,” said Donovan.

Donovan, Owner of Specialized Roofing in North Fort Myers got to city hall early, after city leaders said last week, they issued a record-breaking 2,285 permits.

It's a number that has caused frustration for contractors who say they have been faced with long lines at City Hall.

“If you need to come down for a permit it's going to be challenging,” said Donovan.

A challenge Cape Coral Spokesperson Kaitlyn Pearson addressed in a statement to Fox 4.

The long lines are being caused by applicants not using the online EnerGov CSS portal to submit permit applications and a large number of out-of-area contractors applying for permits in-person. The State’s Emergency Order 2022-03 allows any contractor currently licensed through the State to complete work in Lee County for a limited period of time. This Emergency Order is scheduled to expire this week, causing many contractors from other parts of the State to rush to submit their permit applications.
Kaitlyn Pearson Senior Public Information Specialist

Donovan said he has had troubles with the portal in the past.

“Ya if you are not familiar with the portal and how it works, it can be challenging,” said Donovan.

Pearson said currently the city is processing 4,666 permits, adding that the city is even processing non-hurricane permits through the online EnerGov portal,
but says many out-of-area contractors are applying in person.

“It's easier because you can have questions answered when you come in person and they have the ability to provide you with services such as documentation on the spot when you are missing those documentations,” said Donovan.

Fox 4 asked Cape Coral city leaders if they feel closing the city’s second permit location at the Cape Coral Art Center was contributing to the long lines.

Pearson said before closing the art center,

“...over 94% of hurricane Ian-related building permits were already being applied for at the city hall location.”

City Hall is a popular spot for contractors like Jason Donovan who said he would rather wait in line to get things done correctly.

“ It shouldn't be a surprise for any homeowner or business owner, what we are trying to do is work together to find a common ground here to get through this, chaotic-ness,” said Donovan.